Official Scoring, Double Digits, Vegans and a Walkoff

1. Official Scoring Errors

Don't mess with this official scorer

There was an item last week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that was noteworthy.

  • The Cardinals filed a formal appeal with the Commissioner’s Office about a scoring change that ended third baseman David Freese’s hitting streak at nine. The protest was in regard to the change of what originally was scored a triple against Phillies starter Roy Halladay to a three-base error when Jayson Werth appeared to lose a battle with the sun on an opposite-field ball but phoned the press box after the game to lobby for the change. Werth told the official scorer he should have made the play.
  • During the game Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. also lobbied the official scorer for the change. The change was announced 30 minutes after the game. The reversal removed an earned run from Halladay.
  • In addition, another scoring change was announced in which Freese was initially charged with an error when Placido Polanco smashed a one-hopper through his legs but was later absolved when Polanco gained credit for a single.

And there’s more,

  • Last Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced that a change by the official scorer gave James Loney a throwing error for a play that occurred against the Reds nearly two weeks before.
  • In the Sox/Yankee game on Sunday, Jeremy Hermida hit a ball over the head of left fielder Marcus Thames. The ball hit his glove and bounced away and Thames was charged with an error. Hermida said he hoped the call would be changed upon appeal to the league office.
  • That same day in Pittsburgh, Cardinal outfielder Ryan Ludwick drove in his first run of the season against a lefthanded pitcher with a triple. That play originally was ruled a three-base error on Pittsburgh left fielder Lastings Milledge but was changed by the official scorer.
  • On April 25 in Boston, Nolan Reimold hit a sharp grounder to third that Adrian Beltre booted. The same thing happened with the next hitter, Adam Jones. Beltre was originally given an error on both plays, and the official scorer reversed both calls.

Yesterday, I was at Fenway watching the Blue Jays top the Red Sox, 3-2. Everybody is justifiably yelling about plate umpire Dale Scott who called David Ortiz out on a pitch that replays showed was well off the outside corner, in a critical 9th inning situation. But as egregious as that call was the call could not be reversed. After another bad call, Terry Francona was quickly ejected because managers are not allowed to dispute strikes and balls.

That is how official scoring should be as well.

If an official scorer wants to reverse a call, based on subsequent review of replays, that’s his prerogative, but players, managers, or general managers have no business contacting the scorer or appealing decisions, particularly once the game is completed. Once there is a final out, there is a final score and all scoring should be final as well.

Now that I got that off my chest, Adrian Beltre took a ground ball off his chest in the 9th that both Adam Villone and I were shocked when it was called a hit and not E5. But upon further review (if you don’t subscribe to MLB TV I don’t know what you are thinking about ), in which both Don Orsillo on the Sox telecast, and Buck Martinez on the Jays telecast both used the same words, “Beltre was eaten up by that ground ball,” the base hit call was correct. However, the Sox grounds crew must address the condition of the Red Sox infield because its negative reputation is deservedly growing.

I was at Fenway watching the Blue Jays defeat the Red Sox, 3-2. Shaun Marcom pitched brilliantly for Toronto allowing just two hits in seven shutout innings. Travis Snider homered, doubled and drove in all three runs. The game was completed in a neat 2:32.

For the seventh time in eight starts this year Marcum (2-1) has given up three runs or fewer. He entered with a .232 opponents’ batting average, the second-lowest against an AL starter.

Tim Wakefield (0-2), reinserted into the rotation when Josh Beckett was pushed back because of back spasms, gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings and recorded his 2,000th career strikeout.

The Sox went 7-3, their best 10-game homestand since May 11-20, 2007. The Jays were 7-3 on their road trip.

J.D. Drew hit.469 on the homestand with 4 doubles, 7 RBI, 5 walks and 11 runs in 9 games and raised his average from .214 to .284. David Ortiz, who entered the game hitting .185, had two singles to raise his average to .200.

Attendance was announced at 37,198, the 573rd straight sellout at Fenway but I wish I had a dollar for every empty seat.

2. Pitch Conservation

I hope they are in favor of conserving pitches

It is my hope that the Billy-Ball.com community is more knowledgeable each day as to the goings on in the sport. The phrase I would like to have you thinking about these days as you watch games is “pitch conservation.” For example, Homer Bailey (1-2) threw a four-hit shutout yesterday as the Reds completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-0. Bailey threw only 90 pitches. He did not go to a three-ball count the whole game and only went to a two-ball count four times.

“That’s the epitome of pitch conservation right there,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

It was Bailey’s first professional shutout and it followed Johnny Cueto’s one-hit gem. The back-to-back complete game shutouts are the first for the Reds since Jose Rijo and Tom Browning did it on June 9-10, 1989 against the Dodgers. The Reds became the first team in the majors with back-to-back complete-game shutouts without a walk since Oakland’s Tim Hudson and Barry Zito did it on Sept. 9-10, 2000, against Tampa Bay, according to STATS LLC. The last time Reds had back-to-back complete-game shutouts with no walks by either pitcher was July 27-28, 1925, Jakie May, 3-0 against St. Louis and Dolf Luque, 3-0 against the Phils.

Joey Votto hit his eighth home run of the year. Drew Stubbs hit his third. Zach Duke (2-4) lost his fourth consecutive decision. Pittsburgh was shut out for the fifth time in 34 games this season.

The Reds have won five in a row and 12 of 16. Reds starters are 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA during the winning streak. In 38.2 innings, they’ve allowed 21 hits, walked three and struck out 33. They’ve thrown 19 straight scoreless innings.

Pitch conservation. Know it. Love it. Use it.

3. Braves Sweep

Brooks Conrad homered, doubled and drove in four runs filling in for injured Chipper Jones, and the Braves topped Milwaukee, 9-2 for a three-game sweep. The Braves outscored the Brewers 28-7 in the series, with 17 runs coming in 9.1 innings against Milwaukee relievers.

Derek Lowe (5-3) pitched six innings allowing six hits and two runs as the Braves picked up their first road sweep of the season.

4. Double Digits for the Orioles

Brad Bergesen (3-2) allowed one run and five hits in 7.2 innings, Luke Scott homered and scored twice, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Mariners 5-2 for their 10th win of the season, the last team in the majors to reachdouble figures in wins. It was the ninth loss in 11 games for the Mariners.

Adam Jones had three hits and Miguel Tejada drove in two runs for the Orioles. Seattle starter Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-3) gave up three runs and seven hits in three-plus innings, the shortest of his seven starts this season.

5. Day and Night Games on the Schedule

AL

Mariners (David Hernandez) at Orioles (Kevin Millwood), 12:35

Yankees (C.C. Sabathia) at Tigers (Justin Verlander), 1:05

A’s (Ben Sheets) at Rangers (C.J. Wilson), 2:05

Indians (David Huff) at Royals (Zack Greinke), 2:10

NL

Astros (Bud Norris) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter), 1:40

Padres (Mat Latos) at Giants (Jonathan Sanchez), 3:45

Mets (Johan Santana) at Marlins (Josh Johnson), 7:10

Nationals (Craig Lannan) at Rockies (Jhoulys Chacin), 8:40

6. Quickies

  • Rick Porcello and the Tigers handed Yankees 3rd straight loss, 2-0, in the first game of a day/night doubleheader. Phil Hughes and the Yanks earned split in the nightcap with an 8-0 win.
  • Two passed balls helped the Rays top the Angels, 4-3. Behind David Price the Rays won a series in Anaheim for the first time in 11 years.
  • Russell Branyan homered again and Fausto Carmona and three Cleveland relievers combined to shut out the Kansas City Royals, 4-0. The Royals have lost seven straight and nine of their last 10.
  • Yorvit Torrealba drove in two runs against his former team as the Padres stayed unbeaten in five games this year against the San Francisco Giants with a 5-2 win. The Padres beat San Francisco for the ninth time in the last 12 meetings.

7. The Strasburg Report

Stephen Strasburg's autobiography

The legendary Stephen Strasburg add more credentials to his burgeoning bio by throwing six innings of no-hit ball in his second start for the Syracuse Chiefs, a 4-0 victory over the Norfolk Tides. He went to three-ball counts on just four batters and lowered his earned-run average to 1.06 in seven minor-league starts.

Strasburg threw 79 pitches, 55 for strikes, struck out seven, and walked one in facing 19 Norfolk batters, one over the minimum. In two International League starts he has struck out 13 and allowed one hit in 12 innings.

8. Suggested reading

Mark Bittman fans should subscribe to Billy-Ball.com

Mark Bittman, who is a vegan until 6 p.m. and a runner at various hours, writes The Minimalist column for The Times, and can be found at markbittman.com and has a fascinating article in today’s New York Times about an ultra-marathoner who is a vegan, two activities that don’t make sense to me.

Must Buy

Buy this book!!!!

125 Best Vegan Recipes by Maxine Chuck and Beth Gurney. Mrs. Ball wrote this great vegetarian cookbook. Where ever it says use vegan cheese, use real cheese and the dishes are terrific.

9. I Love Walkoffs

I Love Walkoffs

Miguel Olivo went 5-

for-5 including a leadoff walkoff homer in the 10th inning to give the Rockies a 4-3 win over Philadelphia. He had entered the game 2-for-28 but had no difficulty with Roy Halladay and whomever else the Phils put on the mound. It was his second career five-hit game with three of the hits off Halladay and the homer off Chad Durbin (0-1).

Joe Beimel (1-0) threw 1.1 scoreless innings for the win.

Halladay gave up three runs, two of them earned, on 10 hits in 6.1 innings. Aaron Cook allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings for Colorado.

The second game of the day-night doubleheader was postponed because of rain and snow with no makeup date announced. This was the Phillies’ only scheduled trip to Denver this season.